"I think it's sad that our elected and appointed leaders are wasting their time talking about menus on death row when we have important issues like potential innocence and the validity of the entire death-penalty system that desperately need to be looked at." -- Elizabeth Stein, producer of KPFT-FM's Execution Watch.Texas State Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston), always looking for some good press, has decided that death row inmates in Texas should no longer get to request a special final meal. What got Mr. Whitmire's panties in a wad, you might ask.
Well, it seems that Mr. Lawrence Brewer, whom the State of Texas murdered the same night that Georgia executed an innocent man, made an unusual request for his final meal and then didn't finish it.
In addition to the steaks, the omelet and fried okra, Brewer asked for a triple-meat bacon cheeseburger, three fajitas, one pound of barbecue and a half loaf of white bread, pizza meat lover's special, one pint of "homemade vanilla" Blue Bell ice cream, one slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts and three root beers.That was the last straw for Mr. Whitmire who then declared that if the head of the prison system didn't end the practice immediately that he would introduce legislation in the next session to eliminate the practice. Brad Livingston, having no backbone, only asked "how high?"
Was he upset about the cost? About the items chosen? Who knows. Brian Price, a former inmate who prepared many a last meal, has offered to provide the condemned man his final meal at no cost to the state. For some reason Mr. Whitmire doesn't think allowing a man to choose his final meal is the least the state can do if they intend to kill him.
And if it's the cost that's got Mr. Whitmire jumping up and down like a lunatic, what about the $2.3 million average price tag for a death penalty case in Texas (three times the cost of locking someone up for life)? Where's the outrage over that bill? If he's interested in saving the state some money - why not abolish the death penalty?
Nope. Not going to happen. To abolish capital punishment would mean taking a principled stand on an unpopular issue because it's the right thing to do. Cancelling the last meal request for a condemned man is a public relations gesture he can use to whip up the masses.